UBEC blames states for failure in basic education,

Primary school children

Primary school children

States get N37b grant yearly to boost learning says Dikko
The Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Suleiman Dikko, says the Federal Government allocates the sum of N1 billion as matching grant to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to boost the development of basic education in Nigeria.

To this end, state governments should be held responsible for the general decline in basic education in Nigeria, leading to poor performances of students in public examinations.

Speaking in Abuja at meeting with the executives of Education Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN), Dikko said a total of N37b is allocated to states annually to improve infrastructure in schools.

He, however, said UBEC as an intervention agency has little to do in terms of ensuring that quality and standards are maintained in primary and secondary schools in the country as people are made to believe.

He noted that many people erroneously blame UBEC for the perceived fall in the quality and standard of education in the country, when in reality basic education is under the purview of states as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution.

He said, “UBEC is basically an intervention agency of the Federal Government to manage the two per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund set aside to provide support to states for the development of basic education.”

Dikko, explained that this fund is disbursed to the states in form of matching grant, where each state government is required to pay a counterpart fund of N1b before its allocation is released to it by UBEC.

“Many states that refuse to pay this counterpart fund, which is 100 per cent of the Federal Government matching grant, have had their allocations continue to accumulate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), he stated.

“The commission is not a regulatory body. We don’t employ teachers or regulate the recruitment of teachers. Education is on the concurrent list and what the Federal Government is doing is to provide support to the states through this matching grant. State governments are in charge of basic education delivery. They construct classrooms and determine the number of pupils and teachers to engage.”

He added that apart of the matching grant provided to the states, UBEC sets aside N750m for the training and retraining of teachers in the states.

Chairman of ECAN, Mr. Chuks Ukwuatu, earlier in his remark, said basic education was critical and that there was the need for effective collaboration with the media in order to ensure that Nigerians were properly informed about government’s intervention in the sector.

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